Facebook-mom plea: How support in the arts helped a new group grow
Isaac King looked at the shaggy-haired drummer, quickly fixed his gray baseball cap and pulled his glasses closer to his face before strumming the melancholic first chord of “Pool House” by The Backseat Lovers. King and the drummer shared a brief moment, smiling at each other, before the band launched into a slow melody that mirrored the song’s left-out lyrics. King looked down to make sure his fingers were in the right place on his brown bass guitar before each chord. As the intensity of the instrumentals increased, he and the other members began to move and rock more and more to the indie-rock music.
Although King has recently started playing bass, he would fool most people. A freshman in music production at Ohio University, King is one of the founding members of the student-run band, Lavandula. The band is made up of four members: King, Landon Elliott, Joey Negrete and Zach Winkleman, who all met during their first few weeks at college.
Currently, the members are trying to figure out the sound of Lavandula. They have been working on writing, solidifying and recording their music, which they hope to share on streaming services in the near future. They plan to record their first original song in the spring of 2022.
Lavandula has a unique style of music which Elliott, the guitarist, has described as “experimental indie with psychedelic and rock/pop elements”. The band’s sound matches the tastes of its members.
Asked about his favorite genre of music, King touched his chin with his black-painted fingernails.
“It’s like when you ask your mother for her favorite child,” King said. After a moment of thought, however, he said, “Psychedelic funk.”
When King’s high school switched to online learning, he decided to use the extra time he would be spending at home. He scoured the internet and bought a $90 bass. It was the cheapest he could find, but enough to satisfy his musical curiosity. He optimized his practice time when his high school went online, which allowed him to speed up the early stages of learning bass. While others might be trying to hide their phones, he was trying to hide his bass.
“I had nothing to do, so what I ended up doing, I would have my classes online and I would have the table in front of me and I would have the computer there, and the camera would show my shoulders and above,” King said. “For about six hours a day I had my bass.”
On the first day of college, King and his roommate, Landon Elliott, who would later become Lavandula’s lead guitarist, played their instruments together in Lincoln Hall, OU’s fine arts student dorm. After hearing them, another guitarist came and started playing. The three started playing together every day and quickly became friends. After adding a lead singer, a band was born. In five short months, Lavandula will publish his first creation on YouTube: a cover of “Pool House” by The Backseat Lovers.
Because the group started during the coronavirus pandemic, it hasn’t had a time without limited performance opportunities and strict regulations. Although COVID-19 has made it difficult for the group to gain exposure, Facebook moms continually come to the rescue. Without the power of moms on social media, Lavandula wouldn’t have been able to reach so many people with her first cover.
“(Landon’s) mom reposted it like everywhere on Facebook,” King said. “We got 100-200 views the first two days. And then in four days we got about 1,500 views. She’s a threat. She’s really good at publicity and stuff.
Lavandula plans to host Fridays Live, a Saturday Night Live style show at OU, mom’s weekend – which is perfect for some of her fans. King joked that half of the group’s Instagram followers are moms.
Because artistic careers can be unpredictable and difficult to navigate, parental support in the arts is often hard to come by. Many parents don’t understand the benefits of an arts education or don’t understand that it is possible to make a living in the arts. The “starving artist” stereotype has instilled deep fear in many and does not help those who want support while pursuing their passions. Although most will likely need to supplement their artistic work with other sources of income, Lavandula band members know that pursuing a career in the arts is tangible and something that should be embraced rather than feared.
Even if someone ultimately decides not to pursue a career in the arts, parental support in artistic endeavors has benefits that will last a lifetime. A study by The Kinder Institute found that arts learning experiences benefit students in terms of reduced disciplinary infractions, increased compassion for others, and improved writing achievement. He also found that arts education experiences improve school engagement and college aspirations.
Lavandula seems to have had luck in the “supportive moms” category.
“All the moms are definitely supportive,” Elliott said.
From now on, the members hope to becomethe band” of Athens. They hope to eventually have a show at The Union. Some longer term goals include getting gigs everywhere, playing in different cities. King is unsure where the band will go in the future. Although he said he would like to continue playing together, he recognizes that all members of the group have different aspirations.
“I think it would be cool to pursue after college,” King said. “But at the same time, Joey, our singer, wants to go to New York to do Broadway. I don’t know where I’m going, Landon doesn’t know where he’s going, and Zack wants to do music therapy. We all have different backgrounds. Hope we stay together. If it’s like that, that’s great, because I can see them being my friends forever. But at the same time, we all have different values and different goals that we want to accomplish. »
The members of Lavandula are all freshmen, so the future of the group is far away. Right now, they’re focused on enjoying the time they have making music together.